COVID-19 vaccination in Switzerland

COVID-19 vaccination in Switzerland
DateDecember 22, 2021 (2021-12-22) – present
CauseCOVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland

COVID-19 vaccination in Switzerland is an ongoing immunization campaign against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in response to the ongoing pandemic in the country.

By 5 November 2021, 11,178,041 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.[1]


Lonza Group in Visp where the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is produced.

On 19 December 2020, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) approved the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) for regular use, two months after receiving the application, although it was expected to give a decision later than other European countries, as Swiss laws do not allow emergency approvals. After the application was processed with high priority using all the available resources, head of Swissmedic stated that the vaccine fully complied with the requirements of safety, efficacy and quality. This constituted the first authorization by a stringent regulatory authority under a standard procedure for any COVID-19 vaccine.[2][3] Three days later, 107 000 vaccine shots were received by the army to be dispatched in the cantons. On 23 December, 302 days after the first official case, the first patient, a 90-year-old woman from Central Switzerland, was vaccinated in a retirement home in Lucerne.[4] On that day, the cantons of Lucerne, Zug, Schwyz, Nidwalden and Appenzell Innerrhoden launched the vaccination campaign,[5] marking the beginning of mass vaccination in Switzerland and continental Europe outside Russia.[6] Most cantons followed by 4 January 2021 and all the rest of them by 11 January. By that day, about 0.5% of the population received the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.[7]

On 12 January 2021, Swissmedic approved the second COVID-19 vaccine: the mRNA-1273 made by Moderna.[8][9] The Lonza Group where the vaccine is produced was visited by Federal Councilor Alain Berset the previous day. Up to 800,000 vaccines per day are expected to be produced there. A year after the first COVID-19 outbreak, the number of vaccinated people largely outnumbered the official cases. On 7 March, about 10% of the population received at leat one shot of the two approved vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) and about 3% were fully vaccinated.[10]

A third vaccine, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine (AZD1222), which comprised 5.3 million of the doses ordered by Swiss authorities, was rejected for approval by the Swiss medical authority, SwissMedic, citing insufficient data.[11]

In March 2021, the Swiss Federal Health Ministry reported that approved vaccine deliveries have increased steadily every month. Switzerland received 1.1 million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in January and February 2021, and another 1 million vaccine doses in March, exceeding initial expectations. As of 16 March, there have been 843,974 people taken the first dose of coronavirus vaccine.[12] The country plans to have its 8.6 million residents vaccinated by summer 2021.[13]

In April 2021, there were reports that vaccine administration and production efforts at the Lonza Group plant in Visp have been hampered due to overly stringent immigration rules in Switzerland, reducing the influx of qualified biotech and healthcare workers, particularly with regard to non-EU/EFTA states. The Valais National Council urged the Swiss federal authorities to create exemptions from the current immigration rules for essential biotech industries.[14]

Drive In vaccination in Thun (March 2021)

Vaccines on order

Pfizer–BioNTechGreen check.svg December 19, 2020Green check.svg Yes
ModernaGreen check.svg January 12, 2021Green check.svg Yes
JanssenGreen check.svg March 22, 2021Green check.svg Yes


  1. ^ "COVID-⁠19 Switzerland | Coronavirus | Dashboard". Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  2. ^ "Swissmedic grants authorisation for the first COVID-19 vaccine in Switzerland" (Press release). Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic). December 19, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "COVID-19: Switzerland can start vaccinating vulnerable groups already in December" (Press release). Federal Office of Public Health. December 19, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  4. ^ Erni, Salome (December 23, 2020). "90-jährige Luzernerin als erste Person in der Schweiz gegen Corona geimpft". Luzerner Zeitung. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  5. ^ Brotschi, Markus (December 23, 2020). "Die Impfung ist da – einige Senioren zögern noch". Der Bund. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Pralong, Julien (December 23, 2020). "La piqûre de l'espoir pratiquée à Lucerne". Retrieved December 23, 2020. Le média zurichois affirme même qu’il s’agit-là de la première personne vaccinée en Europe. Indépendamment de cette vaine «course», cette injection marque, pour la Suisse et l’ensemble du continent, un tournant peut-être décisif dans la lutte contre une pandémie... [The Zurich media even claims that this is the first person vaccinated in Europe. Regardless of this vain "race", this injection marks, for Switzerland and the whole of the continent, a perhaps decisive turning point in the fight against a pandemic...]
  7. ^ "Welche Länder wie schnell impfen". January 13, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  8. ^ "Swissmedic erteilt Zulassung für Moderna-Impfstoff in der Schweiz". SRF. January 12, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  9. ^ "Swissmedic grants authorisation for the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna". Swissmedic (Press release). January 12, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  10. ^ La vaccination progresse en Suisse, mais l'horizon du "tous vaccinés" est encore lointain, Retrieved 07-03-2021. ("Près de 20'000 injections ont lieu tous les jours, ce qui a permis à près de 10% de la population de recevoir au moins une dose, et à 3% d'obtenir les deux requises pour que la couverture vaccinale soit complète.")
  11. ^ "'Insufficient data': Switzerland declines to approve AstraZeneca vaccine". AFP/The Local. February 3, 2021. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  12. ^ "CORONAVIRUS IN THE WORLD AS OF WEDNESDAY 17 MARCH 2021: LATEST CASE AND DEATH TOLLS IN 24H PER COUNTRY". Sortiraparis. Julie M. March 17, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  13. ^ Miller, John (9 March 2021). "Switzerland expecting 1 million COVID vaccine doses from Moderna, Pfizer in March". Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  14. ^ "How Switzerland’s strict immigration rules might have contributed to slow vaccination rollout". Retrieved 28. April 2021.

Media files used on this page

Coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2.png
Author/Creator: Alexey Solodovnikov (Idea, Producer, CG, Editor), Valeria Arkhipova (Scientific Сonsultant), Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Scientifically accurate atomic model of the external structure of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a strain (genetic variant) of the coronavirus that caused Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), first identified in Wuhan, China, during December 2019

Each separate locus (amorphous blob) is an atom of:

  cobalt: membrane
  crimson: E protein
  green: M protein
  orange: glucose (glycan)
  turquoise : S (spike) glycoprotein
SARS-CoV-2 (Wikimedia colors).svg
Author/Creator: Geraki, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
SARS-CoV-2 logo in Wikimedia colors
Green check.svg
Green check icon
Covid-19-Impfzentrum Thun 01.jpg
Author/Creator: Hadi, Licence: CC0
Covid-19-Impfzentrum Thun: Drive In
Site Lonza de Viège, vu depuis la gare de Lalden 2.JPG
Author/Creator: Fabien Perissinotto, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Lonza site of Visp seen from the Lalden station.